First, some fun news: remember that 20UNDER40 anthology we all heard about last summer, the one that got all those submissions? Well, one of those submissions was mine — and, all these many months later, it’s been selected as one of the chapters! Co-authored with Daniel Reid, who studied arts philanthropy with me in my Philanthropic Foundations class last year and now works as a management consultant in Chicago, the article proposes a new model for distributing grant funds based on the aggregated decisions of knowledgeable arts consumers. Expect to read more about it here in the near future.
June is shaping up to be a big travel month. Tomorrow I head to New York in preparation for a week at the main office, followed by a quick trip to California the following week for my BACAM work. Then, the week after that, I will be in Atlanta for the joint Chorus America / League of American Orchestras conferences. At Chorus America, I’ve been invited to speak at the June 18 morning plenary session on the subject of “Envisioning the Choruses of Tomorrow,” along with David Howse, Gabriela Lena Frank, and Julian Wachner. Do look me up if you happen to be there. As for the League, I have been invited not to speak, but rather to blog at the conference’s related website, the Doug McLennan-curated Orchestra R/Evolution. (Yes, I know…so very much to say about that title.) I’ll link you over there when I start contributing my thoughts next week, but it’s already shaping up to be one of the better “idea exchange”-style group blogs I’ve encountered or participated in. The website is to be paired with a town-hall-style event at the conference that will be live-streamed over the web.
I’ve often found myself reflecting in recent months on how different my life is from how it was, say, a year ago. At that time, despite just having graduated from business school, I was unemployed, not far from broke, and still operating pretty far below the radar of the arts field as a whole. Createquity had about one-sixth of the readers that it does currently, and while I had been diligently trying to cram as many informational interviews into my schedule as I could, it definitely felt like an uphill battle.
Since then, I’ve found a (great) job, become the first official blogger for the Grantmakers in the Arts Conference, taken a call on my cell phone from the Chairman of the NEA himself, and found myself giving advice to more than one individual from whom just a short while ago I was seeking it. It’s been a dramatic transition, and if I had to choose one event or decision that more than any other made that change possible, I would say that it was attending the Americans for the Arts Annual Convention last year in Seattle. It was there that I met or solidified relationships with dozens of program officers, researchers, emerging leaders, and arts managers, such as GIA’s Tommer Peterson, AFTA’s Barbara Schaffer Bacon and Stephanie Evans, San Francisco Bay Area Emerging Arts Professionals’s Ebony McKinney, and my future co-worker Adam Natale. I handed out and collected a fistful of business cards, and followed up with everyone after the conference to point them to the wrap-ups that I’d written on my blog and mention that I was looking for work. The registration fee I paid for AFTA might well have been the best $200 I spent all year.
Wait, you ask, just $200? That’s right, I registered for the conference at the bargain $200 student rate, which I highly recommend for anyone who qualifies. Note that you have to fill out the paper form by this Friday, June 4, to take advantage of the rate. This year’s conference is in Baltimore on June 25-27, and marks AFTA’s 50th Anniversary. I’ll be there for the entire time and will co-host a Career 360 session on Branding Yourself Through Technology and Social Media with fellow Yale SOM grad Devon Smith. And if you are coming to the conference, throw in an extra $45 to join a large chunk of the AFTA Emerging Leader Council at the Arts Leadership Symposium at Goucher College on June 24. That fee includes four sessions, dinner and refreshments – it’s a great deal.
Hope to see you.